Northeast Arkansas Duck Breeder Challenges State Regulation

December 8, 2004-- Posted at 5:30 p.m. CST

BAY-- An NEA duck breeder is challenging a state regulation issued by the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission.

Breeder Dutch Noe is questioning the Commission's regulation to confine his captive-reared mallards.

The main concern behind confining these particular ducks is the potential spread of disease to the wild duck population.

Game & Fish officials say that because these ducks are kept in close quarters, the potential for spreading disease is greater than that of wild mallards.

Breeder Dutch Noe disagrees, "There has never been a documented case where a captive-reared mallards have done any harm to anything. If a captive-reared mallard harms things then so will ducks in the wild. They are one in the same."

Keith Stevenson of the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission says, "There are all kinds of diseases carried through their droppings. Just being in close proximity to each other, that is the main concern. Wild ducks are spread out. If it's sick, a duck in the wild, it dies off. It doesn't always spread it to a lot of other ducks."

Noe's defense is the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act. A section of the act "allows the transfer in any number at any time or place of captive-reared mallards."

However, the Arkansas Game and fish department says that they have the right to put forth regulations in accordance to the law.

"We are just asking these permit holders that are breeding ducks in the state to put these ducks in pens so that we don't have intermingling," Stevenson says.

Noe says that this restriction is in violation to the Migratory Bird Act, and he plans to continue his position.

"Until the United States Congress changes the Migratory Bird Act, I'm going to continue what I'm doing. They can't stop me," Noe says.